Kids’ attention spans are as short as an episode of Paw Patrol. But if your child displays chronic signs such as talking nonstop, fidgeting and squirming, or being unable to play quietly, your child might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. Once diagnosed by a doctor, there are additional steps parents can take beyond medication to help improve a child’s quality of life. Dr. Heidi Senokozlieff, a pediatrician at the Cleveland Clinic, offers three easy and often overlooked strategies.
Chat with a psychologist
You’d be surprised, ADHD may not be the only issue contributing to your child’s inattention. Find a psychologist who will sit down with your child to help uncover any possible anxiety or depression that may arise from ADHD. “Psychology is a great place to tease out some of these concerns that kids may have but are unable to communicate because of their young age,” explains Senokozlieff.
Reach out to their school
“Parents are often intimidated by the diagnosis, so they don’t reach out to the schools for help,” Senokozlieff says. However, public schools may offer special services for your child’s specific needs to help their social and academic performance. “Something as simple as preferential seating or books at home ... can make a huge difference,” Senokozlieff adds.
Get them moving
An hour or more of daily activity can do wonders for your child’s attention and self-esteem. However, some children with ADHD struggle with team sports. Instead, find a sport that is focused on individual participation such as karate, tennis or swimming. “Place them in sports that are able to highlight their strengths instead of consistently pointing out their weaknesses,” says Senokozlieff.